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Print Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

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In today’s digital age, it’s crucial for businesses to engage with their customers in a way that feels natural and captivating. While digital ads often go unnoticed or are easily dismissed, print marketing offers a tangible and engaging experience that leaves a lasting impression.

At Ink & Main we understand the power of print marketing in attracting, engaging with, and delighting target audiences

Understanding Print Marketing

Print marketing is a strategic approach where marketers carefully select their target demographic and place print advertisements in offline locations where they will be seen, heard, or engaged with. One of the most effective places to reach audiences offline is right in their homes.

By utilizing direct mail, businesses can send printed materials such as magazines, brochures, booklets, pamphlets, postcards, and more directly to their target audience’s mailboxes. Thanks to advancements in technology and platforms like SP Direct, businesses can now track the performance of their print marketing campaigns down to the individual piece.

Benefits of Print Marketing

Print marketing offers a multitude of benefits for businesses, regardless of their size. Let’s explore how it can help your business:

1. Raises awareness of your brand: Print marketing materials create a physical presence for your brand, increasing brand recognition and visibility among your target audience.

2. Drives new leads to your business: Engaging print ads have the power to attract new leads, both in-store and online, by capturing the attention and interest of potential customers.

3. Promotes the sales of new and existing products or services: By strategically showcasing your offerings through print materials, you can drive sales and generate interest in your products or services.

4. Introduces a new product or service to the market: Print marketing allows you to effectively introduce and create buzz around new offerings, helping you make a splash in the market.

5. Helps differentiate your product from competitors’: With a well-executed print marketing campaign, you can highlight your product’s unique features and benefits, setting it apart from competitors and capturing the attention of potential customers.

Compelling Statistics on Print Marketing

To truly understand the power of print marketing, let’s take a look at some compelling statistics:

  1. Print and direct mail marketing boast a 9% customer response rate, significantly higher than the response rates of other digital marketing channels, which typically hover around 1% or even lower (DMA).
  2. The direct mail household response rate is an impressive 5.1%, compared to the much lower response rates of email (0.6%), paid search (0.6%), online display (0.2%), and social media (0.4%) (DMA).
  3. Print ads generate a 20% higher emotional response from consumers, leading to greater conversion rates (R.C. Brayshaw, 2020).
  4. By combining print and digital ads, online campaigns can become 400% more effective (Top Media Advertising).
  5. A whopping 79% of consumers find reading physical mail more convenient than reading emails.

These statistics clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of print marketing in capturing attention, eliciting emotional responses, and driving consumer action.

The Science Behind Print Marketing

The effectiveness of print marketing is not just a matter of opinion but is backed by scientific research. The Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University and the Office of Inspector General at the United States Postal Service conducted a study to investigate the impact of print and digital marketing on customers’ subconscious responses and buying behavior. The study identified three key stages of the buying process influenced by print marketing:

  1. The body’s response and emotional reaction to print: Print marketing materials have a greater impact on consumers’ emotions, resulting in heightened engagement and interest.
  2. The speed and accuracy of recalling a print advertisement: Participants in the study spent more time with physical ads and could remember more of the content than digital ads, leaving a lasting impression.
  3. The action taken after viewing the print advertisement: Print ads had a higher subconscious value and demand among participants, leading to a greater likelihood of taking action, such as making a purchase.

This research highlights the unique and powerful effects of print marketing on consumers’ subconscious minds, making it an effective tool for businesses.

History of Print Marketing

Print marketing has a rich history that dates back centuries. The earliest verifiable advertisement is believed to be an ancient Egyptian print ad from 3,000 B.C. It promoted the apprehension and return of a fugitive slave while also serving as an indirect advertisement for the slave owner’s rug shop. This early example demonstrates the innovative use of print to attract customers to a storefront.

The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the early 1400s revolutionized the dissemination of information and businesses began using print to share news and promote their offerings. One of the first print ads is suspected to be a church flyer from 1472 selling a book of prayers. Over time, newspapers, community publications, and pamphlets became popular print mediums, spreading the word about new brands and the latest trends.

Planning a Print Marketing Campaign

To launch a successful print marketing campaign, careful planning and consideration are essential. Here are some key steps to follow:

1. Budget and plan: Determine your printing budget and project requirements. Consider factors such as the number of print materials, printing and mailing options, deadlines, paper stock, and any additional features like binding or die-cutting.

2. Choose the correct print format for your brand’s message: Consider the nature of your business and the message you want to convey. If you have a product-driven company, a catalog might be the right format. If you’re customer-focused, a pamphlet could be more suitable.

3. Collect demographic data on your target audience: Gather information about your target audience to ensure a hyper-focused strategy. Understand their needs, preferences, and interests, and craft your message, incentive, and design accordingly.

4. Craft an appealing message and design: Create compelling content and visually appealing designs that resonate with your target audience. Incorporate personalized elements whenever possible to establish a deeper connection.

5. Finish, print, and deliver your print campaign: Collaborate with a reputable commercial print provider to bring your campaign to life. They can provide price estimates, quality service, and guidance throughout the process. Finally, deliver your print materials using reliable mailing services.

By following these steps, you can execute a well-planned and effective print marketing campaign that generates the desired results for your business.

Direct Mail as a Marketing Tool

Direct mail is a powerful component of print marketing that involves sending tangible correspondence, such as letters, publications, brochures, catalogs, magazines, booklets, or postcards, to clients or prospects. It serves as a direct means to entice recipients to engage with your products or services. Here’s why direct mail is a valuable marketing tool:

1. Direct mail affects consumers more: Studies show that direct mail has a greater impact on consumer behavior and elicits a stronger response compared to digital media. Its physical presence creates a deeper connection and a lasting impression.

2. Understanding and remembering digital media is harder: With the overwhelming amount of digital content bombarding consumers daily, it becomes challenging for them to retain information. Direct mail, on the other hand, requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and remember, making it easier for recipients to absorb your message.

3. Direct mail offers a greater brand recall rate: Due to its tangible nature and cognitive ease, direct mail has a higher brand recall rate. It helps recipients remember your brand and message for a longer period, increasing the likelihood of them taking action.

4. Direct mail yields a significant return on investment: According to the DMA, direct mail marketing offers an impressive 4.4% response rate and a 29% return on investment for the median household. These statistics demonstrate the potential for a positive impact on your business’s bottom line.

Additionally, direct mail allows salespeople and marketers to reach existing clients offline, strengthening business-customer interactions and fostering a sense of value and personalization. This is particularly important for companies with a loyal customer base who appreciate undivided attention and personalized communication.

Print Marketing for B2B Communication

Print marketing is not limited to consumer-facing campaigns. It is equally effective for B2B communication and can help businesses establish meaningful connections with other companies. Here are some B2B direct mail ideas to consider:

1. Acknowledge the customer as a regular person: Remember that your B2B customer is an individual who wants to feel acknowledged and valued by the company they are considering doing business with. Personalization and tailored communication play a crucial role in B2B direct mail campaigns.

2. Hyper-targeting and individualization: Instead of broadcasting generic messages, focus on hyper-targeting and individualizing your direct mail pieces. Personalized brochures, for example, can offer ample space to promote your business, products, services, and news, while making the recipient feel valued.

3. Get creative with dimensional mailers: Stand out from the crowd by sending dimensional mailers that grab the recipient’s attention. These creative and interactive mailers tend to elicit the highest response rates from B2B recipients.

4. Incorporate QR codes and digital marketing: While print marketing is effective on its own, combining it with digital marketing can significantly enhance results. Including QR codes on postcards and other small direct mail items allows recipients to connect directly with your online campaign landing page, bridging the gap between print and digital.

By adopting these B2B direct mail strategies, you can effectively communicate with potential business partners and drive successful collaborations.

Local Print Marketing Benefits

For local businesses and organizations, print marketing holds significant advantages. Local marketing aims to target customers within close proximity to a company’s physical location and is particularly valuable for small enterprises and community outreach groups. Here’s why local print marketing is essential:

1. Targeting customers near your storefront: Local print marketing allows you to focus your efforts on customers who are more likely to visit your physical location, increasing foot traffic and potential sales.

2. Creating client loyalty and trust: Consistent local print marketing keeps your business in the minds of local customers, fostering loyalty and trust. It portrays your business as a reliable and trustworthy entity, resulting in increased sales and customer retention.

3. Long-lasting and profitable investment: Print materials have a physical presence and durability that digital ads lack. They can be kept, shared, and revisited by customers, making them a profitable long-term investment for your business.

4. Leveraging Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM): If you’re new to direct mail or want to target a specific area, USPS’s Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) service is an excellent option. It allows small businesses, restaurants, political campaigns, and real estate agents to reach their local area more effectively.

By incorporating local print marketing into your overall marketing strategy, you can maximize your presence within your community and drive tangible results for your business.

Designing Effective Print Marketing Materials

Design plays a crucial role in the success of your print marketing campaign. The right design can captivate your audience and convey your message effectively. Here are some tips for designing compelling print marketing materials:

1. Set campaign goals and address audience needs: Clearly define your campaign goals and understand the needs and preferences of your target audience. Craft your messaging and design elements to address those needs and provide solutions.

2. Choose the right direct mail format: Consider the nature of your business and the message you want to convey. A postcard may be suitable for a quick, attention-grabbing message, while a brochure or catalog offers more space for in-depth information.

3. Personalize your mail piece: Whenever possible, personalize your print materials by including recipient names, photographs, or tailored offers. This personal touch helps create a stronger connection and increases engagement.

4. Be concise and use supplementary materials wisely: Ensure your message is clear and concise, especially for smaller print formats. If you have more detailed information to convey, opt for larger formats like catalogs or booklets. Choose the appropriate paper stock, finish, and weight that align with your design and campaign goals.

5. Be creative and innovative: Stand out from the competition by infusing creativity into your print marketing materials. Consider dimensional mailers, unique die-cut designs, or interactive elements that will capture the recipient’s attention and leave a lasting impression.

Remember, the paper stock, finish, and weight you choose for your print materials contribute to their overall impression and impact. Align your choices with your campaign goals to create a cohesive and visually striking design.


Print marketing remains a powerful tool for businesses in the digital age. Its tangible nature, higher response rates, and ability to elicit emotional responses make it an invaluable component of any marketing strategy. By understanding the benefits of print marketing, utilizing effective strategies, and incorporating creative design, businesses can connect with their target audience, drive conversions, and differentiate themselves from competitors. Embrace the power of print marketing and unleash its potential for your business.


1. Is print marketing still relevant in the digital age? Absolutely! Print marketing offers a unique and tangible experience that can’t be replicated digitally. It has higher response rates, creates lasting impressions, and engages customers in a way that digital ads often can’t.

2. What are the benefits of combining print and digital marketing? By combining print and digital marketing, businesses can leverage the strengths of each channel to enhance overall effectiveness. Print materials can drive customers to online campaigns, while digital marketing can provide interactive experiences and trackable metrics.

3. How can I track the effectiveness of my print marketing campaigns? With advancements in technology, businesses can now track print marketing campaigns down to the per-piece level. Platforms like SP Direct and USPS’s tracking services allow businesses to monitor the performance and ROI of their print campaigns accurately.

4. Does print marketing have a higher impact on consumer emotions? Yes, studies have shown that print marketing materials have a greater impact on consumer emotions compared to digital ads. The physicality of print materials and the cognitive ease of processing them result in stronger emotional responses and higher engagement.

5. What are the key considerations for designing effective print marketing materials? When designing print marketing materials, it’s essential to set clear campaign goals, address audience needs, choose the right format, personalize the content, be concise, and use supplementary materials wisely. Additionally, selecting appropriate paper stock, finishes, and weights can enhance the overall impression and effectiveness of your materials.

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